Responsive Lovers Don’t Rush to the Bedroom, Says Research

Responsive lovers engage in bonding behaviors such as gazing, expressing gratitude

Responsive lovers engage in bonding behaviors such as gazing, expressing gratitude

Far too many people imagine a responsive lover is someone who reacts well to sexual stimuli or their partner’s sexual desire.

While responsive is defined as “reacting to suggestions, influences, appeals, or efforts”, a responsive lover isn’t someone who merely arouses easily. The expression “responsive lover” has much more to do with qualities that some of the synonyms of the word “responsive” reveal – namely sympathetic, sensible, sensitive, perceptive, tender, and warm.

A responsive lover, therefore, is a person perceptive and sensitive to having a connection – a desire for a long-lasting attachment. A responsive lover is not just interested in having sex, a responsive lover is interested in all aspects of their partner. Intimacy is much more than the physical/sexual aspect; intimacy involves a deep and wide knowing of their partner.*

That’s why responsive lovers don’t rush to the bedroom.

Healthy Relationships are Key

Researchers discovered that responsiveness has a fundamental link to true intimacy and a healthy relationship. How?

Responsive lovers create a foundation of friendship and a feeling of trust and safety within their relationship, which the focus on immediate physical intimacy does not overshadow. The result? A much closer and more fulfilling relationship.

Delayed sexual intimacy also equals better long-term prospects for a relationship; greater stability, higher satisfaction, better quality of sex, and improved communication. Taking more time to get to know one another before having sexual relations, increases understanding of your partner’s personality, strengths, and weaknesses. It uniquely fortifies your relationship in such a way that the question of sexual “compatibility” becomes arguably unimportant.

This highlights the fact that sex is more than the physical act. It’s not the mechanics that bring couples closer together; it’s actually the emotions which create meaning for the action. Delaying gratification will make sexual intimacy a far deeper and more memorable experience.

Traits of Responsive Lovers

How does the mindset of wanting a deep, emotional connection prior to a physical one manifest itself in actions? Consider these three traits:

  • Expressions of love and commitment. Done during dating and prior to any sexual intimacy, these expressions provide a framework for the meaning of any later sexual action within the relationship. In other words, when sex is eventually initiated, it’s more likely seen by both partners as a special event in the relationship, instead of just a physical moment of pleasure.
  • Bonding behaviours. This includes comforting one another, skin-to-skin contact, gazing into each other’s eyes, kissing, cuddling, holding hands, and more. The more frequently you create these comforting feelings, the more dependable the flow of non-sexual oxytocin will be that helps draw you closer together. (While our bodies also release this bonding hormone during sex, it’s much more unstable and drops off quickly after climax.)
  • Gratitude. Gratitude, in turn, doesn’t just affect the one expressing it. The receiver also ends up viewing their partner as much more understanding, validating, and caring. In fact, expressing and receiving gratitude can fuel mutual displays of responsiveness

Be a Responsive Lover to get a Responsive Lover

Now it’s time for you to take action.

If you want committed love and connection to your partner as a real human being, become a responsive lover. Keep the bedroom door out of sight for the moment. Instead, take the time to get to know your partner and build a strong bond by demonstrating love, gratitude, and loyalty.

But what if you missed the opportunity to start your current relationship as responsive lovers? Fear not! It’s not too late.

You can bring responsiveness into your existing relationship from this moment forward. Make an effort to display the traits of a responsive lover. Then watch your relationship – and your sexual intimacy – transform into more than just a physical connection that leads you to the bedroom.


Reference:*Birnbaum, G. E., Reis, H. T., Mizrahi, M., Kanat-Maymon, Y., Sass, O., & Granovski-Milner, C. (2016). Intimately connected: The importance of partner responsiveness for experiencing sexual desireJournal of Personality and Social Psychology, 111(4), 530-546.
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